Is Croatia Safe?

In this article

Croatia is a popular tourist destination in Southern Europe. It is well known for its transparent water bodies and amazing mountainous views. The country welcomes millions of visitors yearly, as there were over 13.7 million tourists in 2021 and about 10.4 million visitors in the first two quarters of 2022.
However, while the country experiences a large surge of visitors yearly, travelers always ask, "Is Croatia safe for travel?" This article addresses the safety condition of the country and the necessary precautions. Read through to understand.

So, How Safe Is Croatia Really? The Overall Risk

Croatia is a very safe country compared to other European countries. It as it ranks as the 15th safest country in the world. The general risk is theft and overcharging. Asides from that, you have less to fear in Croatia.

COVID-19 Pandemic and Safety Concerns in Croatia

Covid-19 cases in Croatia have lessened compared to the first and second quarters of 2022. July had the country at its all-time high. There were 11,812 new cases with thousands of deaths that month. However, recent studies show that there were 587 new cases in the past seven days, with about seven deaths.
While there are no travel restrictions in Croatia, you need to exercise caution in airlines and transport services. Face masks are not compulsory indoors but are required outdoors and in shopping centers. If you experience COVID signs, contact the government's dedicated hotline 113 for emergency services. However, you can visit specialist centers in different counties for emergency assistance.
A positive test for the virus will have you quarantined till you test negative. To cover this, you should ensure you have access to money and check your insurance coverage. You should also be sure that you can change your stay plans to be longer than expected.
It is important to note that you do not need a Covid-19 certificate to access Croatia. However, if you are to prove your status, a WHO or UK-originated negative PCR test will do, and your previous vaccine must not be more than 14 days old.

Safety in Public Spaces

Croatia is safe for travelers, as its crime index stands at 24.36 and its safety index pegs at 75.64. Although the violent crime rate in the country is low, let's see more details about the country's crime status.

Crime Rates: Petty Theft and Scams Are the Main Concerns

Like many other European countries, Croatia has petty crime records like pickpocketing. Tourist attractions and Bus stations like the Zagreb Bus Terminal are dangerous places for petty theft, especially at night.
You must be aware of your surroundings every time. Visitors should be more careful in crowded tourist areas in major cities because they are the perfect pickpocket crime spots. Places like Dubrovnik are notorious places.
Muggings are rare in this European country. There are hardly any kidnap cases; however, sexual assault is a common concern. However, you should stay away from poorly lit places for your personal safety. Also, you should be careful at the Zagreb Bus Terminal because a lot of people from bars and clubs come around there. Most times, they are intoxicated, and you do not want to be a victim.
You should be careful when accepting rides, as only officially marked taxis are recommended.

The Risk of Unexploded Landmines

Reports show over 16,900 unexploded land mines, especially in remote areas of Plitvice Lakes National Park. However, the Croatian government is constantly trying to demine the country as it expects to be free of landmines in a few years.
You should not be bothered about getting on a land mine as there are often landmine signs and pedestrian maps to guide you. As a visitor, you can also use the help of tour guides and indigenous to avoid danger.

Spiked Food and Drinks

Do not accept drinks and edibles from strangers, to minimize the risk. Ensure to pay ahead at bars instead of keeping tabs because the tabs you keep can have inflated prices. Also, be careful around gentlemen's clubs. Some visitors have fallen victim to swindles in gentlemen's clubs, losing up to several thousand Euros.

The Threat of Terrorism

There are few terrorism cases in the country, and homicide rates have reduced over the years since the Croatian War of Independence. However, there have been explosion threats to shopping centers. While terrorist attacks are few in Croatia, you should listen to warnings and safety tips from the local authorities and stay off danger-tagged areas.

Social Unrest and Political Situation

Although Croatia is not popularly known for political unrest, there have been a series of protests in the European country. There is an average likelihood of protests on economic issues like inflation, Covid-19 regulations, and cost of living. According to studies, protests on these issues may never result in widespread violence.
There is also an average likelihood for protests to stem from football matches and games between opposing clubs. These protests can expand into large-scale violence.
However, you can preserve yourself as a visitor during these periods. To preserve yourself, you can do the following:
  • keep yourself updated with the news outlets
  • listen to local advice and instructions from local authorities
  • stay away from protest sites

Road Safety and Public Transportation in Croatia

Public transportation in Croatia is generally safe, and the roads are properly maintained. However, you should exercise normal precautions when taking a tour around the country, either in trains, buses, trams, or taxis. You should always protect your important items and keep your money safe while in transit.
The most common forms of public transport in Croatia are trains and buses, which cover almost every region. They are efficient if you plan to make domestic or international travel.
Train tickets are usually available at train stations. However, if the offices are closed, you can get your tickets on the train (although they may be more expensive). Needless to say, they are safe and comfortable.
Buses are also comfortable for road trips in Croatia. You can purchase a prepaid card, a stored-value card, or a paper ticket to take a bus trip. You can also load credit from your paper ticket to your card at a Tisak kiosk. If you can't get a paper ticket at the station, you can get it on the bus. However, it may be more costly.
Are taxis safe in Croatia? Taxis in Croatia are safe and traceable. Although there are public and private taxis in Croatia, official taxis are safer because they're more easily tracked and their prices monitored.
You should note that Croatian taxis are often high-end, beyond expectations. So if you are taking a taxi, make sure that you really need it. If not, you can opt for a bus or a flight to your destination. Also, you should be careful about seeking counsel on the best bars and relaxation places from taxi drivers, as it could cause you to pay more than necessary.

Is It Safe to Drive in Croatia?

Driving on a Croatian road is one of the safe things to do. However, there are rules. As a visitor, you must drive with your driver's license in Croatia. But, if your license is not in the Latin language, you will need an international driver's license to drive. You do not need an international driving permit.
When driving in the country (particularly the southern region), you need to keep to the right side of the road. Also, you must not exceed 0.05% in your bloodstream if you drive in the country.
If you are driving between the end of October and the end of March, you are obligated to drive with low beams throughout the day. If you are driving between the 15th of November and the 15th of April, your car must have winter tires.
Using your mobile device while you drive is prohibited, and you must have a fluorescent jacket in your vehicle (not in the boot) while driving. If you have a vehicle breakdown, you must wear it.
You must observe the Croatian speed limits, as stated in mph.
  • You must observe a speed limit of 31 mph when driving on roads in the inner cities.
  • You must observe a speed limit of 55 kmph when driving on open roads.
  • You must keep a speed limit of 80 kmph when driving on federal motorways.

Local Laws Relevant to Travellers to Croatia

As a tourist, it is essential to always have your travel documents, e.g., your passport, travel insurance, etc. If you lose your passport, ensure to have a police report before you apply for an Emergency Travel Document.
There are strict laws against illicit conduct like sleeping in public places, appearing shirtless in public, or wearing outfits that trigger violence and hard-drug use. Offenses associated with drugs have strict penalties attached to them.
Sometimes, offenders will be required to pay fines. Other times, they may suffer jail terms. Studying your environment and checking for signages is advised to know what works.
You should never take alcohol outside bars, clubs, and restaurants. Although the penalties attached to this offense differ between regions and local authorities, the fines often range between 30 Euros and 700 Euros.
Generally, you need to know that it is wrong to take milk, meats, and products created with them into countries in the European Union. Although there might be exceptions on products.

How Good Is Healthcare in Croatia?

The Croatian government is doing all it can to make healthcare readily available to visitors and citizens in Croatia, as it allocates about 8.4% of its GDP to healthcare. A study pegged Croatia as the 30th country with the best healthcare globally.
Croatia provides low-cost and quality healthcare to everyone. According to reports, health costs in Croatia are 70% less expensive compared to many top-tiered countries. The country achieves this affordable system through an insurance scheme called HZZO.
Everyone compulsorily pays into HZZO monthly based on their annual income. Every visitor that stays in Croatia for more than 12 weeks must be a part of the scheme.
Food safety in Croatia is commendable, as the CFA controls its affairs.

Climate and Natural Disasters

The country has a Mediterranean climate. It has extreme summers with cold winters. July and August often have the hottest temperature while January is often the coldest.
Croatia often experiences natural disasters like flash floods, landslides, excessive heat, earthquakes, drought, and wildfires. The fires often happen during the summer, so you should be careful when passing through wooded areas and forests. If you discover any danger, you should make an emergency call to 112.
Croatia frowns at outdoor fires and the disposal of inflammable materials. You could go to jail for causing a fire outbreak by mistake.
You should keep up to date with weather reports to stay safe from floods. These floods often come with little or no warnings and can be lethal.

Water and Mountain Activities

Swimming in Croatia is fun and mostly safe. The Adriatic coast is one place you want to visit, as it has no strong currents and sharks. To say the least, the water is very clean. The only danger you might encounter in the Adriatic sea is the Sea Urchin.
If you love adventure travel, recreational boating is something you want to do in Croatia. However, you should be careful when boating at night. Ensure your boat is well-lit. Also, you should stay away from boating if the weather is not favorable. It is common sense to avoid being stuck in the sea by a storm.
Croatia is popular for its eye-catching mountains and National Parks. Its mountains are good hiking grounds. It is safe to always stay within the beaten track and stay with your tour guides. However, you should be careful not to walk off the marked paths or hike at night so you don't miss your way.

How Safe Is Croatia for Tourists?

Croatia is one of the safest countries in central and southern Europe. Tourists do not have to worry about their safety in the country.
Is Croatia Safe for American Tourists?
Yes, Croatia is safe for American tourists. Temporary visitors can visit Croatia without a visa.
Is Croatia Safe for a Solo Female Traveler?
Croatia is safe for female lone travelers. Dubrovnik, one of its main cities, is popular for solo female travelers.
Is Croatia Safe for LGBTQ+ Travelers?
Croatia has equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore, LGBTQ+ persons are safe in Croatia.
Overcharging
Visitors often fall victim to overcharging in Croatia, especially in gentlemen's clubs. It is advised that tourists avoid such places.

Do You Need a Visa to Visit Croatia?

If you’re fascinted by Crotia as many are, you’ve read all of the safety information and you’re ready to explore the country - you also need to check its entry requirements. So, what kind of documents do you need to visit Croatia?
For starters, you would need an international passport to visit Croatia. American holders must ensure that their passports will be valid for over three months. Those not from the EU will need a passport that was issued for up to ten years and must be valid for up to six months. They must also have enough money to sustain their stay periods and their flight tickets.
Croatia has a visa-free agreement with some countries, but citizens of countries without a visa liberalization agreement will need a visa to visit Croatia.
If you are from the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, Australia, and the European Union, you do not need a visa. You can stay for up to three months in every six months without a Visa.

Digital Nomad Visas Have Been Launched

Foreign remote workers will be happy to hear that they can apply for a Croatian digital nomad visa as the country has introduced this form of a temporary residence permit. Freelancers and other types of digital nomads can live in the country and legally work from Croatia for up to one year.

Is Croatia Safe to Travel: Final Thoughts

Croatia is generally safe to visit among other countries, considering that most of its residents speak English, it has health insurance for everyone, and there are few terrorism cases. However, you should be careful of crowded areas, bus parks, and poorly lit areas to avoid pickpocketing and theft. You should also stay away from gentlemen's clubs to avoid overcharging.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.

FAQs

  • Is Croatia safe for foreigners?

    Yes, Croatia is safe for foreigners, as it has a safety index of 75.64 and a crime index of 24.36. However, the safest way to thrive in Croatia as a visitor is to have travel insurance.
  • What should you avoid in Croatia?

    When you travel to Croatia, you should avoid tourist crowds, stay away from poorly lit regions and bus stations, and be aware of pickpocketing. You should also avoid the gentlemen's clubs so you don't get conned.
  • Do they speak English in Croatia?

    Although Croatian is the country's official language, nearly half of the people in Croatia speak English. You will not find it difficult to communicate with the locals as an English tourist or expat.
  • Is Croatia safe to live in?

    Croatia ranks as the 15th safest country globally in 2022. According to this record, it is safe to live in.
  • Is it safe to travel to Croatia alone?

    Croatia is safe for solo travelers. Since the country is generally safe and multi-lingual, solo travel cannot go wrong.

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